12 March 2008

Thoughts Recollected in Moments of Tranquility from NPR

State Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, AZ, quoted on NPR this morning, said, "America was founded as a nation of laws." Pearce is a champion of strict laws, primarily immigration laws. The last few days, NPR's Morning Edition has featured different influential people regarding the immigration issue in Arizona. I am, personally, an advocate of of fairly open borders; but because I have had little experience in areas that are immediately affected by immigration (like Arizona, Texas, and Southern California) I don't know that I have much room to speak on the issue.

Until that quote by State Rep. Pearce, I hadn't heard anything that was too against what I think, even from those that are staunchly anti-immigrants. The notion that the U.S. was founded as a nation of laws and rules runs directly against what I believe my country stands for. I believe that the U.S.A. is a nation of freedom--not laws. I do not have a great knowledge of American Constitutional history, so if I am misrepresenting our history, then please correct me.

In better news, Barack Obama won Mississippi handily and won more delegates from Texas. If only Ohio had come through for me.


Kara said...

Freedom from tyranny was certainly a big part of our nations founding. You can't read the DoI without noting that. However, the governing idea of both the DoI and the Constitution is still the rule of law. The entire purpose of the Constitution was to create a central "highest law of the land" to remedy the chaos that was the Articles of Confederation. The United States in many ways the cultural successor (with differences caused by immigration) to England, and arguably one of England's most notable contributions to Western Civilization was the idea of a law that was seperate from the monarch's wishes. The writers of the DoI were not so much demanding freedom from laws as protesting the implementation of those laws without colonial representation in Parliament. So, there exists a fairly strong historical case for America being a "nation of laws." On the immigration issue, our laws may be too restrictive and the Congress certainly should take the initiative to re-examine them. They have done so numerous times in the past, with varied results. Until that happens, though, they are still laws.

I hope that makes sense and that I don't sound too arrogant. I didn't hear the segmant on NPR, so I can't say whether or not I agree with the gentleman. Please not assume that I'm anti-immigration, either. I just wanted to give you a historian's perspective on the law v. freedom thing.

Anonymous said...

"remedy the chaos that was the Articles of Confederation"

this is a dubious claim and should be discussed more often. but considering the fact that the constitution isn't considered much anymore with regards to issues this nation faces today i assume it even less likely that the articles of confederation will surface in much discussion either.

but kara is correct to point out the idea of america as a nation of laws. the opposite would be a nation without laws. which is an interesting proposition. obvioulsy people do govern themselves and organize on this basis. the issue becomes important when discussing what laws and by whose authority. again, kara points out the fact that england was ruling aggressively and without regard for the well being of those they ruled. much like today. the idea of habeus corpus distinctly refers to this idea of holding people accountable for their actions while simultaneously upholding their rights 'as an individual'

the very first interview listed (june15th) goes over this:
jacob is a great interviewee. an opinion, of course

Anonymous said...

in addition with regards to immigration, i don't think it should be an issue because the problem, though multifacted, naturally is one of boundaries. in this case it is national boudaries, which over time are arbitrary in reference to governments. more specifically it refers to physical territory that by decree is subject to said laws and enforced by those institutions.

i take a more libertarian route which speaks on intervention by third parties on specific terms. basing ones position on foundations of private property and contracts, essentially, it is easy to make the case for peace. on immigration the important thing to consider is: has there been any crime committed? if no, then immigration becomes null and void. it remains a non-issue.
the other aspect to immigration is the social effect and considerations on culture. there many variables to check. here, i contend, economics is a general discipline that can employed to give at least one bird's eye view. we can see people moving for very rational reasons. why does anyone move to another territory? often people, moving en masse share common traits.

in these considerations, again, one must ask is there a crime?

the issue continues for many more considerations, but i will stop here for the time being.

i only mean to point out a thought that someone had and i wanted to repeat: under libertarian law one finds peaceful internationalism while retaining more local control.